Aucklanders could pay a new charge on top of rates to fund transport projects.

A "targeted rate" is one option being considered by an independent group looking at alternative funding measures to plug a $12 billion-plus transport funding gap over the next 30 years.

Evaluating road tolls and fuel-tax rises and traditional funding methods such as rate rises and targeted rates is the job of the group due to report to the council next month.

The Herald understands that the independent alternative transport funding group is leaning towards motorway tolls. It will also provide options for targeted rates and extra rates rises.


On Wednesday, Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee reiterated the Government's pre-election position that there would be no regional fuel taxes or tolling of existing state highways in Auckland.

Auckland Council cannot introduce motorway tolls or a regional fuel tax without government approval. The National-led Government changed the law in 2009. Acting Mayor Penny Hulse said the $2.4 billion city rail link had been included in a new 10-year budget and did not need a targeted rate.

She did not want to speculate on alternative funding options until the independent group reported its finding next month.

Mayor Len Brown is determined to start the first stage of the rail project in 2016, a $250 million cut-and-cover section of the link from Britomart, under the downtown shopping centre and up much of Albert St.

He will have to draw on ratepayers' pockets to get out of the starting blocks after the Government said it would not pay for half of the project until after 2020 unless tough rail patronage and employment growth targets were met.